Friday, December 31, 2010

What is Your Celtic Name?

Surfing the blogverse I came across a quiz link on Celtic Queens that asked "What's Your Celtic Name?" I stopped and wondered just what would be my Celtic name if I lived in those ancient days of gods and goddesses, magick and mystery. I proceeded to delve deeper into this curiosity. For research. Cough, cough.

In truth, I was procrastinating. Delaying jumping into the first draft of my new WIP, which is the second installment of a werewolf series and has nothing to do with Celtic culture, names or traditions. Still, one never knows what tidbits may be useful in the future.

The link at Celtic Queens directed me to appropriate page at Quizilla where I proceeded to answer the questions posed to me by the oracle spiritualkatana.

Lo and behold, according to the wisdom of the ancients, my Celtic name is Niamh [ˈniːəv]. When translated means brilliant or radiant. Hmmm, I think I rather like this name. <grin>

Somewhere in the recesses of my seriously over-loaded and sadly disorganized brain, I remembered the name Niamh. Not from a past life, but something I read. More procrastination ensued while I dug through volumes of books to find the few I'm looking for. My library, columns of books towering and teetering, stacked willy-nilly around my home office, is as orderly as the information in my noggin. After several minutes of searching, I lay my fingers upon the appropriate tomes.

Niamh-- Some legends claim she is the daughter of the King of Tir Na Og. Others call her the daughter of a Celtic sea god from the Isle of Man--Manannán. Whoa! Procrastination just turned into something useful. Manannán features prominently into the Faery Guardian Tales series I'm cultivating. Definitely need to bookmark these passages for future reference.

Niamh of the Golden Hair fell in love with Oisin, an Irish warrior, and brought him to her home in the land of faeries. The Land of Eternal Youth. There, they were happy but after a time Oisin missed his Fenian friends and wanted to return to Ireland to visit them. Niamh placed a geis upon him and warned that he would be safe on his journey and could return to her only if his feet did not touch the earthen ground. 

When Oisin reached Ireland he found all had changed. Man had become diminshed, somehow and the friends he'd known had long since passed. He watched in dismay as several men struggled to move a marble slab. Driven to assist them, he reached down from his horse to give a helping hand. Sadly, his saddle straps broke and he tumbled to the ground. When he stood, his young countenance transformed into a withered, blind old man. Never again did he find his way back to Niamh. 

Ironic that a romance writer be "given" the name of a woman who's own love story came to such a tragic end. Of course, in my imagination, I'm going to write them a happy ending. One day. After I stop procrastinating and get on with my current WIP.

So, what's your Celtic name? Visit the oracle at "What is Your Celtic Name?" and post the results in the comments.  I'm curious to know.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jeepers Creepers It's Cold

Native (South) Floridian and cold weather don't mesh. Seriously. I wear a sweater when the temperature drops below 72*.  Imagine my utter shock when I woke up yesterday morning to this:

Ok, so it's just a little frost. But, this was at 8:30am. It should've warmed up by then. Since it hadn't, I knew it was going to be a parka day. I don't even own a parka. Sigh!

Poor Monster Puppy. He didn't want his paws cold and wet.
And Brave Little Basset headed for greener pastures.
They were happy to play inside the rest of the day. Well, nap that is.

I dare not complain, though. In comparison to some, we're quite lucky. 
At least we didn't wake up to this:
Reuters/Lucas Jackson: Yahoo News

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday's Treasure: Master of Smoke by Angela Knight

I'm so excited! My review of Master of Smoke by Angela Knight was featured on The Season blog. Click on the hyperlink for a chance to win a free copy of this new release.

MASTER OF SMOKE by Angela Knight.
Berkley/Penguin Group
Release Date: January 4, 2011

Gold Coin Rating: 4.1
Heat Level: Bonfire
{Click here for Tuesday's Treasures rating system guide}

Master of Smoke is smokin’ hot with fast moving, action-packed sequences and sizzling love scenes.

Eva Roman is a comic book geek coping with surviving a werewolf attack when she stumbles upon a shapeshifter in the throes of a similar assault. Upon rescuing him, she discovers that he’s lost his memory, except that he knows he’s been dreaming of her for weeks.

Eva decides to call him David, unaware that he’s a Sidhe warrior that shares his body and mind with two other entities, Cat and Smoke. David’s attacker, Warlock, is the leader of a fanatical werewolf aristocracy. He seeks Smoke’s magick and memories in order to destroy the Mageverse and rule the human Earth.

Eva risks her life to help David reunite with his spirit brothers and then must discover if she can love David for who he is in his entirety, rather than the fractured man she first met. For David, Eva is his heart and soul and he will fight the battle of his life to keep her safe and win her love.

Eva’s internal dialogue with her “Fluffy” werewolf self is hilarious and provides some needed comic relief during intense scenes.

David/Smoke’s struggle for Eva’s acceptance tugs at the heart. Before he’s reunited with his other selves, he ponders:
“Here he was, one fragment of some other man, waiting for the rest of his of his mind to return. Would he even exist once they came back?
Would he still love Eva?
David winced. And there it was: the trouble. What kind of idiot let himself become obsessed with a woman in a situation like this? All he was doing was setting himself up for more pain.”

After he’s made whole again, doubts still linger.
“But I’m still your David.” There was a trace of a question in the words. “Aren’t I?”
Eva stopped in her tracks to stare up at him.
That’s when it hit her just how much she’d been hurting him. Her refusal to accept Cat, her unconscious tendency to call him “David” even after his three personalities recombined—all of it had communicated a very ugly message.
“What have I done to you?” She asked the question in a low, shaking voice.”
Master of Smoke is the 10th book in the Mageverse series. I’ve not read the entire collection but I have read Master of Wolves, which is book 5. Based on what I learned in that story, I noted what seemed like a minor inconsistency in Master of Smoke regarding the relationship and interaction between the Direkind and the knights of the Mageverse. Since I’m reading the series out of sequence, it’s possible that this tiny issue exists only because I haven’t read all the books leading up to this particular story.

The weave of the Arthurian tales, werewolves, vampires, and the Sidhe, with our modern world is creative and ingenious. There is so much going on in this story that if you have a difficult time focusing you might get lost in the hustle. Some extended scenes made me a little impatient to get to the next sequence. But, I admire how Angela Knight is able to keep all those plot plates spinning and push the story forward in a credible paranormal fashion.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Favorite Things

I love Julie Andrews. And during the holiday season, I'm reminded of my favorite song of hers...My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music. This year I personalized the lyrics to reflect my favorite things and I'd like to share them with you.

Butterfly waltzes and sweet puppy kisses
Dragonfly aerials on gentle sea breezes
Colorful hummingbirds with whispering wings
These are a few of my favorite things.

Silvery moons and the magick of midnight
Campfires and fireflies and crisp, starry nights
Scary ghost stories that make my heart ping
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cozying up with a really good book
Pizza delivery on nights I don’t cook
Thundering storms and the rains that they bring
These are a few of my favorite things

When my day sucks
When my muse flees
When I feel like crap
I simply remember my favorite things
And if all else fails, I take a nap. 

Seasons blessings to all,
And to all a good day.
 ~kristal lee 

Today's post written for New Kids on the Writers Block blogunity. Click on over for a visit with us new kids.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Got Books?

Stuck for gift ideas this holiday season? For everyone on your Holiday list, there's a book sitting on a bookstore shelf waiting to be read.

Can't afford to give a loved one an all expense paid trip around the world? Present them with a hard copy of Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne.

Know an aspiring prima dona? Ballerina Dreams: A True Story by Lauren Thompson may be the stocking stuffer you need.

Married to a hockey fan? Slip a copy of Tough Guy: My Life on the Edge by Bob Probert under the tree.

No matter what subjects interest your family and friends, a book is the perfect present. And, if you're an aspiring author you'll be supporting the industry that will one day support you. So, while you're strategizing your mall run map out a route to your local bookseller. Give the gift of knowledge, adventure and imagination. Everyone will love you for it.

~kristal lee
Reposted from NKotWB

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tueday's Treasure: Twelve Wicked Nights by Nadia Adian

Twelve Wicked Nights ~ Nadia Aidan

Penguin Group - Paperback and eBook

Reviewed for The Season

Rating: 4 Gold Coins
Heat: 5 Wildfire (Erotic)

Isabella and Justin have been friends forever. Closer than friends, actually. More like brother and sister. Only Isabella has harbored a wicked little secret for years and this Christmas she’s going share it with Justin.

Isabella Andreu is coming home for the holidays. Her boyfriend of two years has just broken off their engagement and now there is nothing to prevent her from finally coming to terms with her undying infatuation for Justin, her childhood friend. That is, if she can actually make it home.

Justin Rourke can’t help but to drop everything when it comes to Isabella. He’s been rescuing her from mishaps all of her life. Fetching her from the side of the road in the middle of a blizzard is par for the course. With the streets to her mother’s house closed due to snow, he has no choice but to bring Izzie home with him.

The only problem is that Izzie isn’t the little girl he’s always considered a sister. She’s all grown up and filled out in the all the enticing places, inspiring dirty thoughts that are utterly unbrotherly.

Snowed in and housebound, Izzie decides to shake up things with Justin. A game of strip Scrabble is all it takes to break her out of the sister mold and land her right into Justin’s bed. Then comes the news… Justin’s SEALs unit is being activated in thirteen days. Izzie knows his missions are long and dangerous and she plans to fulfill Justin’s every fantasy before he ships out…if she can convince him to play along.

I knew from the first three paragraphs that this was going to be a fun read.

“Isabella was in mourning—that deep, soulful kind where people fall to the ground wailing as if they are possessed. Her fiancé of two years had just broken up with her over the phone, the same phone that had died right after her sleek silver Aston Martin Vanquish had gone kaput on the side of the road.

Yes, she was in mourning—mostly for her shoes. Where was she ever going to find another pair of white kid-leather knee-high boots that fit her legs perfectly? Her favorite Jimmy Choos would be ruined if they got any wetter, and she’d worn them only twice.

Maybe if she sent up a prayer, God would save her boots right after he saved her from the worst blizzard to hit her small hometown of Jacksonville, Virginia, in more than ten years. She mumbled something that was as close to a prayer as a wicked Catholic girl was ever going to get, and trudged ahead.”

Isabella is a smart, sexy woman with a sense of humor and a great deal of common sense. She might have taken a detour or two in her life, but she’s determined to get back on track. When she decides she wants something, she doesn’t let anything get in her way.

Justin is equally compelling, struggling with his sense of honor, his changing perception of Isabella and his doubt that she could ever love him that way he wants her to.

Both have strong personalities. Their banter in and out of the bedroom is delightful to watch as each tries to best the other.

At Izzie’s insistence, Justin introduces her BDSM. She’s open to trying anything with Justin because she trusts him. But it’s clear that Izzie isn’t a true submissive. The play-struggle for dominance in the bedroom is entertaining and I was happy that Izzie came out on top, at least part of the time.

This type of sexual relationship works for them because of their shared history. They are deeply connected to each other and that connection extends beyond their bedroom escapades. The conflict for them lies in their inability to confess their love for fear of the other’s rejection. Each thinks the other is only in it for the fun. And what fun they have!

Twelve Wicked Nights is definitely Justin and Isabella’s journey; however there is a sub-plot with a brewing relationship between Justin’s best (guy) friend, Caleb, and Isabella’s best (girl) friend, Celeste. I found this secondary story to be a little distracting, especially because it delves into their sexual activity which took me away from Justin and Isabella’s story.

Caleb and Celeste do play a pivotal role in getting Justin and Izzie to open up to each other. And how these best friends conspire to accomplish that is a hoot.

Twelve Wicked Nights is the first book I’ve read by Nadia Adian (love the anagram of the name). I enjoyed the straight-forward writing style, the clever humor, and the depth of the main characters.

If you’re looking to liven up your Christmas, Twelve Wicked Nights, might be just the spice you’re looking for.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

No Rest for the Weary Writer

Whew! November was a blur. After balancing work, six book reviews, NaNoWriMo and Thanksgiving I'm pooped. No rest for the weary writer, though. With the first draft of Howlin' Hearts completed, I'm mentally plotting the next book in the series, Howlin' Good Time while holiday shopping. This weekend, between a mani-pedicure and a holiday party I'll hash out the characters and a potential outline. My goal is to write another 50,000 word novel in December.

Aaack! I'm behind already. Not one word written. There's a lot in my head, but nothing on the page and too many holiday distractions threatening to cut into my writing schedule. What's a writer to do?  Tighten the time management belt, that's what.

During NaNo I learned that working with an Online Timer helps keep me focused and writing non-stop for 60 minute increments. Doing this, I average about 700 words per hour. I hope to increase to 1000, eventually. Knowing my average wph helps me formulate a reasonable writing schedule depending on the week at hand and thereby reducing my stress. A much needed blessing during this hectic time of year.

So between the Fa-la-la-la's and the Ho-Ho-Ho's, my fingers will be twitching across the keyboard as fast as ol' St. Nick's elves racing to finish their toys. Here's hoping a little elven magick will rub off on me.
~kristal lee

Reposted from the bloggunity @ New Kids on the Writers Block

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